Does an Author Need a Website? 5 Reasons Why a Writer Needs a Website.
The concept of an ‘Author Platform’ varies from one writer to the next. Whichever way you choose to look at it, the core goal of an Author Platform is to make sure the author reaches their target audience. Many publishers look for some kind of author platform, especially for brand new authors, to gauge interest in what that author is writing.
Essentially, for an author, your name is your brand; and for any brand, a website is an integral element in valuable promotion. It is often considered to be the resume for the writer. The options are endless with a website: Providing links to articles you’ve published, behind the scenes blogs for your current books, a ‘previous works’ page, an about page, and more. The author platform enables you to reach an audience of book-buying people. It’s your influence, your ability to sell to your market.
Unless you’re Oprah, an author platform is crucial in becoming a successful writer. It isn’t unheard of for publishers to dismiss potentially great writers because of their lack of a personal platform. You need to show that you are willing and able to put the time and effort into marketing yourself and building a readership online.
Writers need a website, end of story.
No matter what kind of writer you are – a novelist, a freelance writer, a non-fiction writer, a sci-fi writer, a romance writer, or even a brand new writer without a clue – you need a website.
When it comes to creating a website, there are two main options: a static profile page with links to the author’s books and online networks/social media pages; and a blog platform which displays posts (updated regularly) and articles relating to their writing experiences and journeys. Most authors decide to include both.
So why should writers have websites?
1. A website provides a professional online presence.
Whether you’re penning a novel or hustling freelance work, publishers and clients need to know who you are and what you offer. Editors and literary agent inboxes are flooded with queries, and they often need to know more about you and your work. You need to shine, stand out from the competition, and show editors you’re the perfect fit in a simple, quick way. With the click of a mouse, an editor or literary agent can visit your author platform. How can you do that without a website?
2. A website gives potential readers or clients a way to find your book or services.
You might have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram presence, but your website provides the authority you need to show yourself as a professional writer. It’s your ultimate marketing tool. Not to mention, in today’s world, it’s expected to have a digital presence. Everything is online. The first thing most people do when they want to learn more about something is search the internet. If you don’t have a website, how will they find you?
3. A website with a blog is a canvas for your best work.
Even if you don’t have any clips or have only a few, your website and blog serve as evidence of your writing skills. Even if you don’t have a blog – or you don’t update it regularly (please always update it!) – you can feature enough of your writing to show off your experience. A website can also feature a resume or portfolio.
Not only does a blog help with showcasing your writing skills, it’s also motivation to keep up with a regular writing schedule. It gives you a chance to practice your craft, creates an avenue to meet other writers, new readers, engage fans, and get feedback.
4. Your author website acts as your sales funnel.
Your website is your very own space. So use it creatively and effectively. You can help readers to browse your book(s) by adding a blurb or two. It doesn’t have to be the same as you may have in your Amazon or other seller’s site. Keep it simple. Let them know how to buy your books and leave them direct links.
5. Writing is your business.
Have you ever googled a business to discover it didn’t have a website? Did you wonder if the company was even legit? Did you reconsider giving them your business? Why should you be any different as a writer? If you have a weak or absent presence on the web, how are your customers supposed to take you seriously? A website is just another way to create that presence. It sends the message that you are legit and you’re not going anywhere.
Of course, even though we agree that a writer needs a website, no one can pretend that it will get you a million readers overnight. It will take a lot more than that.
An author website doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of your time. As an author, you should be writing, not designing! That’s where I come in.
I straddle two worlds: I’m a writer and artist with a background in website design, content marketing, and e-commerce. It’s perhaps because of this perspective I’ve discovered the dire need for many writers to pay more attention to their web presence. As a published writer myself, I understand the needs and desires a writer has for their website. I take my skills as a writer and artist and design websites that tell YOUR story as an author. I build the sites on the Squarespace platform so that when it comes time for you to update and edit it, it’s super simple and user-friendly. No fussing with coding, laboring over the process, or having to pay a maintenance fee for someone to update it for you. There are also many excellent DIY platforms out there where you can create your website yourself if you feel so inclined.
Whether you choose to DIY your website or hire a designer, at the end of the day, visiting an author’s website remains one of the leading ways readers can find and get to know the authors of their favorite books. Having an online portfolio and presence is something that can greatly impact your online marketing opportunities as well as interaction with your readers.